Opp to try for 1st area win

Published 12:26 am Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Getting that first area win is on the minds of the Opp Bobcats as they travel to Ashford to play a play-in game against No. 4-seeded St. James tonight.

The winner of tonight’s contest will play No. 1-seed Ashford Friday night to resume area play.

Although the Bobcats (4-21, 0-8 in Class 4A, Area 2) have not seen much success this season, a win tonight would bolster the team’s chances at advancing in their area tournament.

Opp coach Ronnie Sansom said it will be important to control the tempo of the game against St. James.

“It’s very important for us to control (the tempo of the game) because St. James likes to get it out and go and jump around the floor and keep pressure on you defensively and offensively,” Sansom said. “If we can control the game by controlling the tempo or working the ball on offense and working shots on defense a lot longer, then I like our chances better.”

Opp has faced St. James twice before and lost both games by double digits. The Bobcats lost the first game, 47-32, and the second, 64-33.

Sansom said in order to have a chance at winning, his team needs to have good first quarters.

“St. James is a very good basketball team and they shoot the ball really well,” he said. “The last two times we’ve played them, we’ve had terrible first quarters. We had 12 turnovers in the first half the last time we played against them and we couldn’t recover from that.

“If we can put a complete game together, I kind of like our chances, but we have not played well against them in the first quarter either time.”

On what the mentality of the players is right now, Sansom said they know where they are in the season.

“They have seen themselves where they have improved as a team and where they have improved as individuals,” Sansom said. “Its just matter of playing with some intensity and consistency and kind of creating your own luck.”

Last week, the Bobcats had what Sansom called a “rough” week, playing against New Brockton, Florala and Andalusia. He also said his team still wants that first area win.

“We had a rough week and lost a close game to New Brockton Tuesday night,” Sansom said. “We lost to Florala Thursday night by two or three and that was on senior night. Having to play Andalusia, we actually came out with a lot more intensity against them.

“I think the game against Florala was a wake-up call,” he said. “(Florala) played extremely well and you can tell that they are well-coached. They know their backs are against the wall. They have been all season and they still want to get that first area win.”

Tip off tonight in Ashford will be at 5:30 p.m. with the girls. The boys team will start after the girls game at 6:45 p.m.